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Taking a Pulse of the Club Industry: Outlook Survey for 2019

In late 2018, McMahon Group conducted its annual Pulse Survey of the club industry asking managers and club leaders about a variety of issues related to clubs. From membership to communications, here are the report highlights from 319 club executives:

Membership Issues

  • Only 39 percent of respondents stated they plan on using specific programs to attract members in 2019, continuing the downward trend dating back to 2011 (67.2%).
  • As with last year, 50 percent stated they plan on using strategies to retain members in 2019. The top three strategies selected include:

o   Improving communications

o   Improving the member experience daily

o   Marketing to members to increase usage

o   Improving facilities

  • For 2019, 57 percent stated they expect membership to grow and only 3 percent expect a decline. Of those expecting growth, 76 percent of this group expect membership to rise by 1-5 percent.
  • Half of the respondents plan to increase dues with the rate of inflation and 29 percent expect to increase it more than inflation.
  • 87 percent allow denim/jeans in some area of their clubhouse. Of those who do not, 32 percent are discussing a policy change for 2019.


  • 62 percent have a dining minimum at their club.
  • Only 30 percent of respondents stated that three-quarters to all of their members are paying the dining minimum in full.
  • Average amount of unspent dining minimum is just under $55,000.
  • Communications & Information Technology
  • 71 percent have a communications director, but only 36 percent stated this a full-time position devoted to communications. Sixty-one percent indicated the communication director has other responsibilities, and 3 percent stated it was a part-time position.
  • Most important communication methods:

o   Email

o   Website

o   Newsletter

o   Mobile APP

  • 71 percent are using a public social media platform with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as the most popular. Instagram usage is growing in private clubs. In 2013, only 4 percent stated they used the platform compared to 44 percent today.
  • Only 32 percent have a paid staff person in charge of information technology at their club. As can be expected, the larger the club size and the higher the initiation fee, the more likelihood they will have this staff position.

Get the Report

The 2019 outlook results provide great insight on where clubs are going in multiple areas. The full Pulse Survey Report is available at no cost to anyone who completed a survey. If you did not complete a survey, but still would like a copy of the report, please visit for more information.

Club Trends Winter 2019